Like the dawn of a new day, wisdom teeth are the emergence of a new stage in life. As they attempt to make their debut, many of these third molars may become impacted and cause discomfort. Therefore, it is important to recognise the signs and symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth.
This article will discuss the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of impacted wisdom teeth. With the right knowledge and understanding, individuals can strive to make their wisdom teeth emergence a positive experience.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are third molars located at the back of the mouth, which typically emerge during late adolescence or early adulthood. They are the last adult teeth to appear and can cause pain and discomfort when they are impacted, meaning they are unable to emerge fully. Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth include severe pain, dry sockets, tooth decay, gum disease, and blood clots.
In addition, impacted wisdom teeth can push on nearby teeth, leading to further dental issues.
For those in late teens or early adulthood experiencing these symptoms, seeing a dentist for an examination is important. If the wisdom teeth are impacted, the dentist will typically recommend having them removed in order to prevent further pain and dental issues. In the meantime, individuals should maintain a proper oral hygiene routine and stick to soft foods to reduce pain and discomfort.
Causes of Impaction
Impaction of wisdom teeth is typically caused by overcrowding in the mouth. Some common causes include:
- Not enough space in the jawbone for the wisdom teeth to grow
- Teeth that are positioned horizontally or angled toward or away from the second molars
- Soft tissue or bone that blocks the tooth from breaking through the gums
- Wisdom teeth that are growing in at an unusual angle.
When impaction occurs, it is important to seek help from an oral surgeon to avoid pain, infection, and other health risks. An oral surgeon can determine the best course of action, including wisdom teeth removal or extraction. Depending on the case, the oral surgeon may opt to remove the wisdom teeth in several hours or may need to take a more complex approach to extraction that requires multiple visits.
After the procedure, pain medications and antibiotics may be prescribed to manage pain and reduce the risk of infection. It is important to follow the instructions the oral surgeon provides to ensure a successful recovery.
Signs and Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Signs of impaction may include visible changes in the mouth, facial swelling, and discomfort. Jaw pain, swelling, and difficulty opening the mouth can be signs that wisdom teeth are impacting adjacent teeth.
Wisdom tooth removal can be necessary when wisdom teeth become misaligned or begin to push against neighbouring teeth. A dental X-ray can be used to diagnose impacted wisdom teeth and determine the best treatment options.
Nitrous oxide can be used to help manage pain and anxiety during the wisdom teeth extraction process. After the extraction, the healing process can take several weeks and may require additional care to ensure the neighbouring teeth do not become impacted. Patients should follow their doctor’s instructions and attend follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process.
Early detection and proper treatment can manage impacted wisdom teeth with minimal discomfort.
Diagnosing Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Diagnosis of impaction of wisdom teeth typically involves a dental x-ray. However, there are other methods that may be used, such as a visual examination, to determine the presence of impacted wisdom teeth.
When diagnosing impacted wisdom teeth, orthodontic treatments, wisdom teeth symptoms, and the type of extraction required are all taken into consideration. The upper wisdom tooth, in particular, is often difficult to diagnose due to its location and angle.
A dental clinic is usually the optimal place to receive a proper diagnosis. A dentist or oral surgeon can assess the condition of the patient’s mouth and determine if a tooth extraction is necessary. The patient may need to be sedated depending on the type of anesthesia used and the complexity of the procedure.
The patient may experience postoperative pain and swelling following the diagnosis and tooth extraction. Periodontal disease is also a common complication of impacted wisdom teeth, and the patient will need to follow their doctor’s care instructions to reduce the risk of infection.
Treating Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Treatment of wisdom teeth impaction depends on the severity of the impaction. In cases of mild impaction, a dentist may recommend an antiseptic mouthwash, pain relievers and follow-up appointments to monitor the progress.
In cases of more severe impaction, dental treatment, such as the removal of wisdom teeth, may be required. In these cases, special care is needed to avoid any bacterial infection. After removing the wisdom teeth, a gauze pad should be applied, and the patient should be monitored for any unusual symptoms.
In cases where the wisdom teeth are at an odd angle or if the permanent teeth are at risk, more urgent care may be needed. In all cases, follow-up appointments should be scheduled to ensure the patient’s recovery.
With proper care and monitoring, the patient can receive the necessary treatment to help alleviate the symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth.
Prevention of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Prevention of impaction of third molars can be aided through regular checkups and preventive care. It is important to monitor the development of wisdom teeth and take the necessary steps to ensure they do not become impacted. The risk of developing unpleasant tastes, excessive bleeding, and food particles entering the gums can all be mitigated by preventing impaction.
Moreover, when wisdom teeth become impacted, there is a greater risk of damaging the lingual nerve and other gum tissue. It is also possible for impacted wisdom teeth to cause crooked teeth and persistent pain. Taking the necessary steps to prevent impaction can reduce the chances of developing these issues.
Preventive care for wisdom teeth includes:
- Regular physical activity: Regular physical activity increases blood flow, which can help to foster healthy gum tissue and reduce the risk of developing impacted wisdom teeth.
- Regular oral health check-ups: Regular check-ups with a dentist can help to keep track of the development of wisdom teeth and identify any potential risks of impaction before they become more severe.
- Proper hygiene: Proper brushing and flossing of teeth can help to reduce the risk of impacted wisdom teeth by keeping the gums clean and healthy. Additionally, avoiding sugary and acidic foods can help to prevent impaction.
- Early detection: Early detection of any issues related to wisdom teeth can help to prevent impaction and the need for a surgical procedure.
The wisdom teeth are an essential part of the oral anatomy, but they can cause serious complications when they become impacted. Recognising the signs and symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth is important to avoid such issues.
Diagnosis and treatment of impacted wisdom teeth can be tricky, like trying to thread a needle in a storm, so it is best to seek professional advice to take the best course of action.
Preventive measures such as regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene can help reduce the risk of impacted wisdom teeth.
With the right knowledge and care, impacted wisdom teeth can be managed in a safe and effective manner.
At North Ryde Dental, located in Macquarie Park, NSW, we understand the importance of caring for impacted wisdom teeth and strive to provide the best possible treatment. We are dedicated to providing professional care and advice to ensure that wisdom teeth issues can be managed safely and effectively. Contact us today to learn how we can help you maintain a healthy and pain-free smile.